New Stadium Finally Hosts Big Game

IRVING, Tex. - When the Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants Sunday in the first game that counts in the Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, the field will be littered with star players: from Tony Romo and Eli Manning to DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora.

But the biggest star Sunday night will be the building in which the game is being played.

The hype will be extensive and excessive, considering it's not the first time the doors will be opened. The stadium already has been the site of exhibition games, international soccer and concert — it has been seen. But make no mistake, the announcers will be drooling over the Cowboys' massive new home.

The players have taken a more subdued approach to the first game in the building in which they already have played and practiced, but wide receiver Roy Williams is among those who admitted Wednesday to feeling the excitement about his team's new home.

"I'm very excited," he said. "Like I told a couple of guys, I want to be the first one to have a first down in that stadium, be the first one to score a touchdown. I usually give my ball and my gloves away, but I think I'm going to keep those if I'm the first one."

Williams was pressed further, asked if he'd give away the ball or gloves from the first first down or touchdown in the stadium if the Pro Football Hall of Fame asked for them.

"No," he said. "I'll trade them out, though. If they can get me in the Hall of Fame, they can have them both."

And if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones asked for them?

"That's negotiable," Williams joked.

In the Giants, the Cowboys are facing one of the NFL's elite defenses. While Williams wages war with what he called an improved New York secondary, he said the key to any offensive success for Dallas will be found at the line of scrimmage.

"The important thing is keeping Tony up — that's the most important thing," Williams said. "We're going to do our thing on the outside. That will be a good battle for us, but if the offensive line can keep Tony off his back, we have a chance. But if he's on his back all game long, it's going to be a tough day for us."

Williams allowed that quarterback Tony Romo's ability to spread the ball around to multiple receivers could help alleviate the pressure the Giants' front seven can muster, but said Romo's ability to do so should come as no surprise.

"He did that all preseason," Williams said of Romo. "You (media) guys went all crazy, because he threw the ball to like seven different people, but that's what we do. We do that every day in practice. We've got so many guys out on the football field that can make plays, and (offensive coordinator) Coach (Jason) Garrett does a good job of putting us in position to get the job done."

While the Dallas offense can escape some defensive pressure by spreading the ball around, that same formula can go the other way, Williams said, as New York's defense can reduce the Cowboys' offensive options by collapsing on Romo.

"(Spreading the ball around) puts pressure on them, but they can counter that by getting to the quarterback," he said. "The Giants — their front seven is probably the best in the league, especially with bringing pressure and getting to the quarterback. So we've got our hands full this week, and may the best team win."

One advantage that might make the Cowboys "the best team" Sunday night is the new stadium, which Jones hopes will host more than 100,000 fans for the first "real" game.

"I know the fans are going to be hyped up, and we need the fans to be behind us, and when our defense is on the football field, they need to feel that 100,000, and make it difficult for those guys to hear," Williams said. "Last week we were in Tampa, (and) it was kind of hard to hear. I know that in this enclosed building, with the 100,000 fans, these (New York) guys are going to have a tough time hearing.

"It's going to be a fun night — hopefully we can come out with a win. But all the rest of the unveiling and stuff — put that on the side burner somewhere. We just do our job, and hopefully we can get a win and make history in the stadium."

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